Are there unexpected benefits of the autoimmune protocol?
I started the autoimmune protocol about a year ago but for the first three months, I wasn’t 100% compliant . It wasn’t until January 2016 that I committed to this diet and the past eleven months on this strict elimination diet have resulted in a miraculous healing.
For me, it was necessary to be 100% compliant for about 4 months in order to see an almost complete resolution of my symptoms:
- dramatic resolution of neuropathy which had manifested itself as severe burning pain in my arms
- much reduced pain in tendons and ligaments behind knees and below buttocks
- sleep much improved
- increased energy
There have been some surprises with the autoimmune protocol: unexpected benefits that are either a direct result of the AIP or could possibly be attributed to this change in diet.
The autoimmune protocol: expected benefits
Weight loss: A positive side effect of this elimination diet can be weight loss for those who might want to lose a few pounds. I lost about 15 pounds in the first three months of strict adherence to the protocol but since I started out relatively slim, I definitely don’t want to lose any more!
Motivation: I suspect that my increased motivation and enthusiasm for life are partly due to feeling better and partly due to having found a post-retirement niche … blogging! My husband keeps commenting on the fact that it is nice to see me so cheery.
Sleep: when I was at my worst, pain was keeping me from getting more than an hour of uninterrupted sleep at any one time. Now I am getting 2-3 hours of uninterrupted sleep and some nights I am getting a total of 9 hours of sleep. I know that sleep contributes to healing a “leaky gut” but for me, it was the resolution of autoimmune symptoms that led to more sleep which led to an increasing sense of wellness, a positive upward spiral!!
Unexpected benefits of the autoimmune protocol
Dental health: at my last teeth cleaning, three months after starting the AIP, my hygienist said that she had never seen my teeth in such good shape. I normally have a large accumulation of plaque and this time it was much less. According to my hygienist, this isn’t a result of eating less sugar but a change in the chemical composition of my saliva so my first thought was: is it the result of starting the autoimmune protocol?
Has anyone else seen this reduction in plaque??
Motion sickness: as anyone who knows me well will tell you, I have suffered from motion sickness as long as I can remember (and that is a long time). As a child, the car sickness was of the messy kind but as the years went by I had a nasty headache and severe nausea when on a road trip or, worse yet, on a ferry. So much so that I always drove everywhere because that reduced the queasiness a bit and I avoided ferries which crossed rough seas.
In April and May of 2016, I took two long road trips which meant being in the car for 11 or 12 hours each day. I arrived at all of my destinations feeling surprisingly well even with someone else doing some of the driving. This is the first time in years that my husband has done any driving when I am in the car so this is a nice change for me and for him. Another autoimmune protocol unexpected benefit?
Headaches: for the last 40 or more years I haven’t had headaches, I have had one long continuous headache .. 24/7, year in and year out. I’m not talking severe pain but a constant continuous pressure headache. But, since I’ve been 100% compliant my headaches are almost gone.
Anxiety: I wouldn’t have characterized myself as an anxious person but, at one point in my life when I dramatically increased my consumption of grains in an attempt to follow “Eat Right for Your Type”, I was pitched into an extreme state of anxiety. Subsequently removing gluten containing grains from my diet eliminated this extreme anxiety and left me feeling better than I had almost all of my adult life.
Recently I attended a weekend workshop and was called upon to share an experience. Usually, in the same situation, I have been uncomfortable sharing but this time, when we were told that we would only have 2 minutes to share, I was actually disappointed! This seems like a reduction in low level anxiety that I wasn’t even aware of. A benefit of the AIP?
Temperature regulation: last year in the heat of summer I suffered from the heat when hiking up steep hills with my medium-large dog. This year it has been 32 and 34 degrees Celsius (90 – 93 F) and I have been fine! I am assuming that my hypothalamus is regulating my temperature more effectively. Another benefit of the autoimmune protocol?
My hiking buddy Ari, short for Aristotle.
August 2016 update:
- the mastoids are less inflamed: the mastoids, right behind the ears, which have, as long as I can remember, protruded a bit and have always been sore to the touch are no longer tender. There is almost an indentation now instead of a protrusion. To me this is an indication that whatever inflammation might have been present is pretty much gone. Since the only difference is the autoimmune protocol I am tending to attribute this change to this elimination diet.
- Stronger nails: I’ve also noticed that my nails have become very hard which is a significant change from before I started the AIP. Cross your fingers for me that this is also reflected when I have a bone density done next year. Long term untreated celiac disease has left me with severe osteoporosis.
If you have had any benefits from starting the autoimmune protocol that could possibly be attributed to this diet please leave a comment.